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Kiev authorities reporting situation on border of Luhansk region with Russia calm

November 05, 2014, 20:39 UTC+3 VIENNA

However the overall situation in Donetsk and surrounding areas remains tense, OSCE observers report

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© ITAR-TASS/Alexander Ryumin

VIENNA, November 5. /TASS/. The Kiev authorities are reporting the situation on the border of the Ukraine-controlled Luhansk region with Russia calm, the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) said in a report.

The November 4 report was placed on the OSCE website on Wednesday.

Observers “visited the district of Markivka, territory controlled by Ukrainian forces (150km north of Luhansk), located 14km west of the border between Ukraine and the Russian Federation. The head of the district administration informed the SMM that the situation at the border remains calm and no incidents were reported,” the OSCE Mission said.

“The overall situation in the city of Donetsk and surrounding areas was tense. The SMM heard intermittent shelling in the northern outskirts of the city where the airport is located,” the report said.

On Tuesday, the OSCE observers and Dutch experts visited the MH17 crash site. “The purpose of the team’s visit was to recover human remains. The SMM and the Dutch teams remained on site for approximately three hours. Periodic heavy shelling was heard to the NW at a distance of 15km,” it said.

“In Stepnoe, in the Ukrainian-controlled Marynski district (30km south-west of Donetsk), the SMM heard heavy incoming artillery shelling from the east at an unspecified distance. The SMM spoke to locals who said that, according to them, shelling occurred near the village of Taramchuk (7km north-east of the village of Stepnoe). According to the local inhabitants, Ukrainian military units from the National Guard are stationed in the vicinity of that village,” the report said.

The OSCE also noted incidents with the use of artillery systems in the villages of Olenevka, Grantinoye and Debaltsevo.

Flow of people crossing Russian-Ukrainian border smallest since August

A report at the OSCE official site also said the overall number of border crossings had been the smallest since August and most people had been heading for Ukraine.

The mission also said the number of people in fatigues crossing the border in both directions remained considerable, although it had also decreased compared with the previous weeks.

The daily average number of people crossing the border dropped to 7,042 from 7,904, with the number of those traveling to Ukraine being 650 persons bigger than the number of travelers to Russia.

The means that 4,537 persons returned to Ukraine over the seven days, the OSCE said. It linked the fact, in part, to the elections of Prime Ministers and deputies of legislatures that were held on Sunday, November 2, in the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

On the whole, the OSCE described the situation at the Donetsk-Gukovo border crossing as quiet. Fewer people would stop to speak to the observers because of cold weather.

Also the mission said many people heading for Ukraine were carrying diesel-electric generators and numerous improvised shops selling the generators of different capacities had sprung up in the vicinity of the border.

On October 31, November 2 and November 4 the observers watched the passage of humanitarian convoys across the border.

All the convoys crossed into Ukraine and returned to Russia on the same day, the report said.

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